Child’s Play – Flash Fiction

The battle lasted 10 hours. No break. No single moment when the soldiers could lie down and stop – to breathe and think. There were no dark corners to sit and rest. Food was soaked with blood and mud. Water full of dead insects. Hot smoke burned their wings, dropping them to the ground to be crushed by running, hiding boots.

“Otez! You there? Still breathing?”

“Hey Boden. Can’t feel my feet, but I’m here. You got chocolate?”

“Oreos. That do?”

“Life saver. I’ll come to you.”

Lieutenant Lizzy Boden saw the enemy first. “Otez! Get back! Incoming!”

Lizzy “Choco” Boden glimpsed Michael “The Raptor” Otez for less than a second before fire and smoke, stone and steel collapsed.

“Tell my family…!”


Lieutenant Boden sat neat and repaired on Michael Otez’s pink floral couch. His wife, Emily, ripped a tissue with her small, pale hands. Neither woman spoke. Neither could. They both watched Mike Jnr. in his playroom across the hall.


“Boooooooooom!” The boy tossed Lego bricks, trucks, cars and a Wolverine figure onto the floor. He stood up and lifted his foot, still wearing high polished black shoes from the morning. “Incoming!” He crushed the pile. “Incoming!!!”


A single tear slipped down Lizzy Boden’s face. “That’s what happened,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”



Choosing a Path

My thinking over the last two days has been about choosing a path.

When you’re working on something like a novel, it can be hard to decide what to focus on. The outcome is so uncertain. Your imagination is endless. There are so many options.

Yesterday, when I felt conflicted and a little messed in the head, this little Haiku came out:


Too many choices
Pebbles tossed on an ocean floor
What does your heart say?

Today, I found a little more clarity. I’ve decided which path to choose. It wasn’t an analytical decision in the end. The best ones never are. I looked at two options in my mind. One shone brighter. A couple of weeks ago we talked about a third way. This is a third way:

One hand on the earth
Fingers draw life from the core
One hand on your heart

I think you always know what you have to do. It just takes time to admit it to yourself. When you do, you have no choice but to follow through.

Daily Practice

I’m thinking about daily practice. How, bit by bit, small daily actions accumulate to become something meaningful.

Every day new blooms
Dew drop-by-drop hugs the dawn
And so the tree grows


Journey notes for writers: I woke up thinking about consistency this morning: Daily practice.

I guess it’s because I’m doing a mindfulness course and an analogy has stuck with me: Mindfulness is like learning to swim. If you learn to swim and you practice, you’ll be fine if you fall out a boat.

It’s the same with writing: practice every day; learn the craft; no matter what it takes. Then, when you sit down to say what you really want to say, the words you need will be there.

OK. That’s it.


Recipe for a Great Stew

In writing, don’t rush into anything. Especially not to trash almost 2 years worth of work. Here’s a little Haiku called “Recipe for a Great Stew”. Below is a note to writers.

Fill your fireside pot
Stand to live then sit to write
Time makes perfect stew

As you may know, I trashed the last version of FF. I’d worked on it for almost 2 years and it came back from my awesome editor with so many holes that I decided it had to go. I really did consign it to the Lessons Learned bin and moved on.

Then this morning I glanced at the editor’s additional notes and realised I’d been a little hasty. Yes, the plot is mostly rubbish, the location isn’t quite right, sequencing is out, and completely illogical and all too convenient things happen all through the story that just don’t tie up. But I like the premise and most of the characters are really great.

Now, here’s the realisation… If you “put your book aside for a while”, it’ll stew. That’s true. And when you come back to it you’ll see holes and inconsistencies and you’ll make some changes. But if you really let it go – if you genuinely trash it – then when you come back to it, nothing will be precious. You’ll see all the gaps and issues and starting over (from the very beginning if necessary) won’t feel so hard. Sometimes we have to really let something go before we see it for what it really is.

That’s it. Happy stewing today, folks.

Different Shades of Hell – three Haikus


With these cowardly terror attacks still on my mind, here are three Haikus. They’re called “Different Shades of Hell”.


Touch her baby face
Last message, I love you, Dad
So to hell he goes

Two eyes down to none
Filmmaker’s lens fades to black
So to hell she goes

Bloody step in faith
Glory tales steeped in lies
So to hell he goes.


NOTE TO WRITERS: I almost didn’t post anything today. I’d written these Haikus but then got a pang of writer’s insecurity (you’ll know what I mean) and thought I’d just miss one day. Then I remembered I’d made a commitment to myself. To write and publish every day. To commit and show up and get better. If I miss today, what’s going to happen tomorrow? When we commit, we have to see it through – no  matter what – as long as it doesn’t entail destroying people’s lives. So get your words in today. Write and publish and produce. When you show up, your muse will too. Just get to work. You’ll find your way**.


** Haha… I’m still lost like a newborn puppy in a midnight gutter, but somehow, putting something out every day is bringing the strands together. It’s quite a journey we’ve chosen. More chances of failure than success, but if we don’t show up every day, our chances of writing what we want to write drop exponentially. So keep it going. Every day.

Belonging – a Haiku

Belonging - a haiku by Tina Konstant - Daily Dose of FictionSun shines without aim
You and the Baobab tree
Drink from the same lake



(NOTE: Was thinking about character and character development today. And about Manchester and Paris and all the other savage attacks around the world. All in the name of religion. Amazing how folk forget we all live on the same planet and breathe the same air.)

Trouble: A love story (Flash Fiction)

“This is mad! We’ll never make it!”

Andy pulled his shorts high as he could without doing himself an injury; didn’t need them falling off halfway down.

Karri beamed. “Only one way to find out!”

“You’re crazy!”

What did he see in her? How did they ever become friends? She’s a maniac! Every bit of trouble he’d ever been in, she was behind it. Every cut and scar on his body had her fingerprint on it. Yet every time she came up with a crazy scheme, there he was, right there with her.

“This party sucks,” she’d said. “Let’s duck out the back, head through the woods, break in through the hole in the fence, climb to the top and take the long ride down.”

“It’s not open yet. They haven’t finished building.”

Karri ignore him. “We’ll be back before anyone notices.”

Spine. That’s the problem. Andy’d never been able to say no to women. Certainly not Karri.

One hand clinging to the side of the two-thousand-foot, part-built water slide, the other gripping his underwear, Andy squeezed his eyes shut. “I’m going to die.”

“Die happy!” Karri shrieked and let go.

Andy knew he would follow her. He knew it then, just as he’d known it the moment he first saw her when they were five-years-old, sprinting across a field with old lady Crabbit’s peaches.

He screamed. Couldn’t help it. The drop was vertical. Three loops later he was upside down. Blinded by water, all he could do was hope Karri was far enough ahead to avoid a collision. Not that she’d mind.


Soaking and caked in mud from their hike back home through the woods, Karri and Andy fell through the kitchen door just as his mother brought out the cake.

“There you are.” His mother peered outside. “Did you get caught in the sprinkler?”

Karri never had trouble dealing with women. “Sure,” she laughed. “Why not?”

She darted into the lounge full of family who gathered at Christmas and birthdays like an obligation. Andy stared after her.

I’m going to marry that girl. That’s a fact.

“Andy?” Andy turned to his mother. “Help me with the candles.” His mother counted them out. One for each year of Andy’s life. “That girl’s trouble, my boy. You watch yourself.”

Andy put eight candles onto his cake. “Yep,” he grinned. “That’s true.”